Medical Care after a Sexual Assault

Medical care after a sexual assault can be helpful for treating or preventing illness and injury. Many tests need to be administered within a specific time frame to be accurate. Generally, you want to have tests done as soon as possible or within 72 hours. Here is a list of tests and exams to consider. The SARIS Specialist can answer questions and provide referrals for the services listed below.

Date rape drugs

There are tests that can help determine if you were given a sedating substance or date rape drug. The tests will be most effective if done within 72 hours. For more information go to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) or Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill or Plan B can prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours of an assault. Emergency contraception is available at Hall Health, your regular doctor, local pharmacy or other community clinics. For more information go to Not.2.late.com.

Evidence collection after a sexual assault

Trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses) treat injuries and collect evidence after a sexual assault. Evidence can be collected up to 120 hours after the assault. This service is available 24 hours a day from Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (HCSATS), Harborview Emergency Room, or Swedish Hospital Emergency Room. There is no charge for the evidence collection exam. You may decline any part of the exam at any time. You may bring a friend or family member with you.

The nurse will:

  • Document your medical history
  • Examine you for injuries
  • Take photos when needed
  • Provide testing for sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy
  • Provide treatment for sexually transmitted infection and offer emergency contraception
  • Communicate with law enforcement

HIV Testing or Prophylaxis

If you are concerned about Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), then you might consider taking medication to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV, called HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. Another option is getting tested for HIV at Hall Health, your regular doctor or other community agencies. For more information about HIV go to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV/AIDSTheBody.com, or Public Health King County HIV Program.

Physical exam

A physical exam will identify any injuries, aches or pains, whether you notice them right away or not. You can receive care at Hall Health, your regular doctor or other community clinics.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testing

STI testing and treatment can prevent infection and help with your peace of mind. You can get tested at Hall Health, Harborview Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress, your regular doctor or other community clinics.

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